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Center Column Archives
Canadian authorities, acting at the behest of U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency officials, arrested seed distributor, activist and magazine publisher Marc Emery, often referred to as the "Prince of Pot", on July 29th, 2005 on charges of conspiracy to distribute marijuana seeds, conspiracy to distribute marijuana and conspiracy to engage in money laundering. His arrest was politically motivated, based on drug legalization efforts. Emery and supporters spent years fighting extradition, however he surrendered into the custody of the British Columbia Supreme Court on September 28th, 2009 and is awaiting extradition to a US federal prison.
WAMMfest 09 will take place on Saturday, September 26th
from noon to 5pm at San Lorenzo Park in Santa Cruz. WAMMfest is an annual festival organized by the Wo/Men's Alliance for Medical Marijuana (WAMM) to thank the community and public officials for all the support and encouragement over the years, especially since the DEA raid of WAMM's collective garden and arrest of Valerie and Mike Corral in 2002.
A major operation to confiscate marijuana in eastern Fresno County is currently underway. Save Our Sierra (SOS) is, according to Fresno County Sheriff Margaret Mims, targeting growers who are affiliated with Mexican drug cartels. These growers, again according to Mims, are destroying public lands with their drug operations. When questioned, Mims would not name one Mexican drug cartel involved or say how many of them were active in growing marijuana in Fresno County. Skeptics think operation SOS is more about justifying bloated law enforcement budgets by scaring people into thinking that an environmental calamity is being perpetrated by violent Mexican drug cartels.
On June 23rd, the Santa Cruz City Council passed a 45-day moratorium on new medical marijuana dispensaries in the city limits. Councilmembers said they needed the moratorium because they claimed there was a flood of daily inquiries to the city's Planning Department about opening medical marijuana centers. The are two pending applications for dispensaries on the Westside of Santa Cruz.
The Santa Cruz City Council Measure K Oversight Committee held their most recent meeting on June 15th. As directed in Santa Cruz Municipal Code Section 9.84.060, the Committee is charged with overseeing the implementation of SCMC Chapter 9.84 which makes "Adult Marijuana Criminal Offenses" the "Lowest Law Enforcement Priority."
Each year on April 20th
, at 4:20pm, people celebrate and smoke cannabis together. One of the biggest gathering spots in California, perhaps the biggest, is Porter Meadow at UC Santa Cruz. It's a large event for the whole community - a place where thousands of people can have a picnic, play with musical instruments, frisbees, kites and just have fun. It's in a safe and relatively secluded location and problems are rare.
During the 2008 presidential campaign, Barack Obama, along with other major Democratic candidates, promised to stop the federal government's raids on medical cannabis dispensaries. Federal medical cannabis-related raids continued in January and February. On February 25th, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder told reporters that Obama's pledge "is now American policy." However, no laws have been changed.